The Big Why of Money

bigwhyofmoneyDo you want to be as rich as Warren Buffet? Maybe you just want to be as entrepreneurial and laid back cool as Jay Z. Your dream might even be to live in a one room cabin in the woods. Either way, if you haven’t thought through the Big Why of money you are almost assuredly not allocating your funds in the best ways for you and your family.

Most folks do what they’re “supposed to do.” They drive a reliable two year old car. They purchase a 4 bedroom 2 ½ bath home about 40 minutes from where they work. They hate their commute every day. There’s a 52 inch TV on the wall of their living room. And a few other flat screens scattered elsewhere. And they’re all obviously hooked up to an expensive monthly TV service. This is the “stock lifestyle.” It’s what the all too often referenced Jones’ do. In this scenario the “stock lifestyle” is living the life that everyone else around you is living. It is rarely deviating from the norm. This way of life makes me cringe.

And it’s not just because it isn’t my cup of tea. I’m pretty sure that most of the people running in this type of rat race don’t want to be there either. They just don’t know how to define their Big Why of money. They don’t understand themselves well enough to make the right decisions with what they bring in every month. Instead of thinking outside the box (I’m obviously all about that) and making the proper changes, they succumb to a bland existence – one that would make a 21 hour Ted Cruz filibuster seem lively.tedcruz

So what’s the remedy? How do we cure what ails us and quit living a bland existence?

The answer lies in defining your Big Why of money. Here are three suggestions to help you figure out yours.

Make a list of your priorities. Not just with money – in life. Is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro your dream? Maybe owning a vintage Mustang is something you just have to do before you die. It could be that you just want to live closer to work and stop spending two hours of your life in a car every day. I like the way you’re starting to think. :) Here’s the deal. Someone else isn’t going to make sure that your dreams are realized. That’s your job. And if you don’t start thinking about these things at some point soon life is just going to pass you by as you continue on in that bland reality I discussed earlier. So write these things down. Know where you are headed and where you ultimately want to be. And just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about retiring at 65 and skipping rocks at the lake. I’m talking here and now.

Brainstorm the possibilities. Brainstorming is a lost art. We don’t do it often enough in our work lives or our personal lives. So now that you know your priorities, how can you clear the clutter in your life in order to get there? Let’s say your family brings in $60k a year. You’ve got a mortgage, a car payment or two, some student loans, etc. Guess what? For most of us those aren’t static and unchangeable objects in our lives. Houses can be sold. Cars can be too. Just know that your current status doesn’t have to be the same tomorrow. Maybe your quickest route to that priority is downsizing and getting out of a mortgage that costs you too much. Maybe it’s getting rid of the car payment and driving a clunker. Cutting the cord could save you an all important $80 a month. That’s a decent little chunk for a sweet vacation at the end of a year!

Act accordingly. Now that you’ve made a sweet list of awesome stuff you want to accomplish and you have brainstormed the possibilities of how your money can be allocated more properly, do it! The awesome thing about the fact that you are still alive is that you can change stuff about your life. And to a seriously gargantuan extent! Did you know that if you lease a car as opposed to driving an old clunker it’ll be an over $10k hit to your wallet over just a few years? And how much does it honestly cost to climb Kilimanjaro? There are a few things of importance to me and I make it a point not to cheap out in those areas.

blackcattipsI love folk art. So my wife and I buy an awesome piece on our anniversary every year.

I love craft beer. So you’ll pretty much always find a tasty brew (or 12) in my fridge.

I love travel. I make it a point to take at least one awesome trip a year. Sometimes more. I still like to travel cheaply though. :)

Here’s the rub. I couldn’t purchase kick ass folk art, tasteful craft suds, or a $502 plane ticket to Ireland last November if it weren’t for compromises I made elsewhere. I figured out my Big Why though and it’s made all the difference. Because honestly, I don’t care about being as rich as Warren Buffet.

Have you figured out your Big Why? What are the important things for you about money? Are there any lifestyle changes you’ll make after reading this in order to fulfill your Big Why better?

[Photos courtesy of MartaMike and BlackCatTips]

26 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    October 01, 2013

    I love this post! Definitely one of my favorites :)

    We are making lifestyle changes. We have realized that we don’t need to be unhappy with our jobs in order to survive.
    Michelle recently posted…$12,334 in September Side Income – Time for Self-EmploymentMy Profile

    Reply

  2. Avatar

    I have totally been caught up in the ‘stock lifestyle’ in the past. Trapped in a job I dreaded, paying out money for all sorts of stuff that I didn’t need. I’ve cut right down and am facing up to a pile of debt. Once these debts are repaid, I intend to live my life in a simple way without the need for luxury and expense. I want to travel more and give my daughter experiences rather than material things. I need to start mapping out my vision for the future and plan how to get there!
    Hayley @ A Disease Called Debt recently posted…September 2013 Debt Repayment UpdateMy Profile

    Reply

    • Avatar
      October 01, 2013

      Experiences over material things are so important Hayley! I would love to hear back once you’ve mapped things out and how that’s going for you. And congrats on getting rid of that debt.
      JoelLarsgaard recently posted…When Cheaping Out Costs You More MoneyMy Profile

      Reply

    • Avatar
      October 03, 2013

      yea- that’s so good “… give my daughter experiences rather than material things…”

      Reply

  3. Avatar
    October 01, 2013

    This is a great post! When I sit in financial planning meetings with clients, the first thing I ask is where they want to go and why. It’s amazing how many people have not put much thought into it. What’s the point in working or earning money if you don’t know why you are doing it? It’s like driving around without a GPS. This is a great reminder to keep your eyes on the road.

    Reply

  4. Avatar
    October 02, 2013

    Many people consider that, to be happy, you need this and that. For us traveling was always something we loved to do and we’d like to expose our daughter to this, as soon as she can go with us. I think at the end of the day, what we’re left with is our experiences and the wonderful places we have seen.

    For this we have cut down our expenses in other areas that are vital to some other people. We don’t change our car every 2 years, we don’t buy expensive clothing (and we do buy it when needed, not just to have a lot of it), we don’t dine out, we don’t get the latest gadgets as soon as they’re being released.

    This allows us to save money on the long run and also pay for our travels, while we are happy and fulfilled. So, as long as you know what makes you ‘tick’, you’ll be able to achieve the goals and still be happy
    dojo recently posted…Timothy Ferriss – The 4-Hour WorkweekMy Profile

    Reply

  5. Avatar
    October 02, 2013

    Great topic. You are absolutely correct when you note that it is important to understand ‘why’ you are saving/investing and ‘what’ you hope to accomplish. Hopefully it isn’t just to have ‘x’ number of dollars and to do the same things that everyone else is doing. I guess you would say the people should save – and think – outside the box.
    James Molet (SavvyJames) recently posted…Furloughed!My Profile

    Reply

  6. Avatar
    October 08, 2013

    Great post and great topic Joel. :)

    My why is simple: Freedom.

    Put another way, time + money. And put yet another way, the ability to do whatever I want, whenever I want, for however long I want. I don’t think one is free until they are financially free. Since I want this freedom sooner than later, my goal is extreme early retirement.

    All of this wrapped up in a nutshell represents freedom to me. This is my why. This is what keeps me going no matter what.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      October 08, 2013

      Right on Brian. I like your Big Why. Mine is definitely different but I can totally understand and appreciate why yours is what it is. I’m still hoping to retire early btw, but I chose a profession that pays less in order to enjoy what I do every day. I knew that would mean a longer career, and I’m ok with that.
      JoelLarsgaard recently posted…To Be or Not To Be a MinimalistMy Profile

      Reply

  7. Avatar
    October 10, 2013

    Man, this is dead on. That 4/2 1/2 house with a stiff mortgage becomes a large ape real quick. Locks you into the “job you hate” so you can pay to water your grass. What a life that is.
    If you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start With WHY’, it’s a great read. Or search youtube for ‘Simon Sinek + Tedtalk).

    Reply

  8. Avatar
    October 28, 2013

    I think the freedom of not being tied down to debtors and the cushion of a good emergency fund alone can be a big enough why since it releases you from related stress (as you mention). But knowing what you want to do with your why is HUGE motivation to actually buckle down and do it!

    I think the biggest thing you can “buy” with your money is time. Time to travel, time to spend with loved ones, time to spend as you wish. If I devote my money wisely and save now, I can “buy” time by working less when my husband and I start a family. As the primary breadwinner it will definitely be a challenge but one I’m excited to tackle!

    Reply

    • Avatar
      October 28, 2013

      I like and admire the way you think Emily. Money AND time is a winner for me too.

      Reply

  9. Avatar

    I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.
    Zapatillas Asics Nimbus Mujer recently posted…Zapatillas Asics Nimbus MujerMy Profile

    Reply

  10. Avatar
    June 25, 2014

    It is in reality a nice and helpful piece of information. I am happy
    that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Linwood recently posted…LinwoodMy Profile

    Reply

  11. Avatar
    July 22, 2014

    Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend
    your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal.

    I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear
    concept

    - cadeau
    - cadeau
    - cadeau
    - cadeau
    - cadeau
    - cadeau
    cadeau recently posted…cadeauMy Profile

    Reply

  12. Avatar

    I think this is one of the most significant information for
    me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The
    site style is great, the articles is really nice
    : D. Good job, cheers
    Myrtle Beach Fishing Guides recently posted…Myrtle Beach Fishing GuidesMy Profile

    Reply

  13. Avatar

    Nice blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What web host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol
    comedy circus ke mahabali news recently posted…comedy circus ke mahabali newsMy Profile

    Reply

  14. Avatar

    Florajen probiotics and constipation Then strain out the
    culture and leave the kefir out to ferment more slowly for another 12-24 hours before
    putting it in the fridge. Probiotics are a good strong friendly bacteria that helps protect
    us from the inside. Georgiy Kharchenko with American Weight Loss Group LLC selling:
    Female and Male Personal Trainer locally, ECA STACK, Stimerex With
    Ephedra, lipodrene with ephedra.
    DailyPro Blend 12B review recently posted…DailyPro Blend 12B reviewMy Profile

    Reply

Leave a comment

CommentLuv badge
Follow Me